Hopedale Girls Basketball Enjoy Unorthodox SeasonJan 29, 2021 10:46AM ● By Christopher Tremblay
Over the past two seasons the Hopedale girls’ basketball team secured their entrance into the Division 4 Central Tournament only to find their season come to an end in the Semi-Finals.
In 2019 the Blue Raiders fell to Maynard and last winter after putting together a 16-4 season where they were awarded the number two seed in the tournament Blackstone Valley sent them packing.
Coming into this season, Hopedale was shooting for the stars looking to take home a State Title, but that was al before the world was introduced to Covid-19.
“Originally we were going big,” Hopedale Coach Corey Phillips said. “But with all that’s happened we’ve had to go back to the drawing board and adjust our goals. Now we are looking to navigate our way through the shortened season and win our pod, while being competitive and get better as a team every day.”
Hopedale will play a 10-game season against the likes of Dual Valley Conference opponents (Blackstone-Millville, Douglas, Nipmuc, Sutton, and Whitinsville-Christian) in addition to non-league opponents Blackstone-Valley Tech and Notre Dane Academy). At the end of the season there will be some sort of pod playoffs, which has been undetermined at this time.
Despite the unorthodox season the Blue Raiders will be taking on the challenge like it was any other year.
“It’s definitely going to be a different season with COVID, but we are all going to learn from this,” the Hopedale Coach said. “We’ll be problem solving as we go along and jumping though hoops in terms of motivating this team having no State Championships this year.”
Lending a helping hand to Coach Phillips will be a quartette of captains in senior center Maeve Griffin, senior small forward Carly Smith, senior point guard Bri Frongillo and senior power forward Maddie Casey. According to the coach, their leadership will be tested with all that is going on this year. However, he is extremely glad that he has a group of girls that will help him make all the girls feel like a team as well as getting them the best possible experience on the court that he can.
Having no post season as they have been used to, Phillips sis looking to take an individual approach to the upcoming season as thought the tournament existed.
“Experience comes from the all the work you put in as a team, while working though and solving all the problems together,” the Coach said.
Offensively the Blue Raiders are no secret when it comes to scoring Frongillo lead all Central Massachusetts scorers last year averaging 25.5 points per game; contributing multiple 40-point games.
“Bri is hoping to improve her average to 30-points a game this year, which is great as long as she doesn’t sacrifice the team in doing so. Winning is all that matters,” Phillips said. “On the court she makes it look easy. It doesn’t matter what other teams’ scheme to try and stop her, she’s still going to score.”
In addition to Frongillo’s offensive output Hopedale will get help in Smith, who averaged 8 points per game last year; Griffin could contribute 5-7 points is she’s in the right spot and junior guard Lilah Casey, a third-year player, has the potential to know down 10 a game if she can step up her game this winter. Junior Caroline Hurley is another athlete that can play a role for the Blue Raiders this season.
Senior Mykenzie Black, who Phillips refers to as the best runner in the area for girls, will also play a significant role for the Hopedale not only on the defensive side of the ball but by also pushing the ball up the court. Being an athlete who can run, Black found herself on the court an average of 28 minutes a game last season and should be around the same time frame once again this year.
Although the Blue Raiders will have seven experienced veterans returning to the courts to play extended minutes, the team is not all that deep. Hoping to contribute will be freshmen Bea Hava and Cienna Bayley, as well as seventh-grader Phoebe Carroll.
“Skillwise Phoebe can definitely help the varsity team,” Phillips said. “While I really don’t know what to expect from her this year, I do know that come next season she will be a big part of us winning a State Title.”
Rounding out the squad will be senior Sonya Terando, who played for the Blue Raiders as a freshman before taking the next two seasons off. The Coach believes the senior is a bright individual who can pick things up rather quickly but being away from the sport for two years it will be a season of progress before he really knows what he has in her.
“As a team they’re a lot of unknowns as we walk onto the court this season.” The Blue Raider Coach said. “One thing I do know is that each and every time that we walk into a gym, we have the potential to win. Now, we may not win every game, but this team certainly believes that they can and having a veteran team with determination leaves us in a good position.”
The Blue Raiders were scheduled to open their season on January 13 at Notre Dame Academy.